Legal Business

Paul Hastings turns to Linklaters for hire of second City corporate heavyweight in a week

Paul Hastings turns to Linklaters for hire of second City corporate heavyweight in a week

An expansive Paul Hastings has made its second headline lateral in London in a week, this time at the expense of Linklaters.

M&A heavyweight Roger Barron is leaving the Magic Circle firm after more than 17 years as a partner, where he has acted on a number of key mandates.

These include advising National Grid on its £13.8bn sale of a 61% stake in its gas distribution business to a group of investors, as well as the £1.1bn acquisition and later £2.5bn disposal of National Grid Wireless.

He also notably advised on the £21bn proposed merger between London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Boerse, which was later blocked by EU regulators.

Barron’s long list of clients also include Lendlease, Siemens, E.ON and BT.

‘The London legal market is in a dynamic state and I believe that Paul Hastings is particularly well placed to offer clients a truly transatlantic service,’ Barron said.

Paul Hastings chair Seth Zachary added: ‘This significant appointment underlines our focus and commitment to accelerate the growth of our M&A practice in London, and enhance our offering to the firm’s global clients.’

Traditionally underrated in the City compared to other aggressive US firms, Paul Hastings’ hire follows another key lateral just last week, bringing over DLA Piper deal star Anu Balasubramanian to lead its London private equity team.

Paul Hastings’ London office chair Ronan O’Sullivan told Legal Business that after investing heavily in its finance business over the years the firm wanted to ‘enhance our transactional engine room with talent of the highest order. Anu and Roger are both at the top of their game and are quite complementary in what they do’.

Hiring partners in mainstream M&A has traditionally been difficult for US firms, with client relationships trickier to bring over compared to the private equity space. But O’Sullivan said: ‘A lot of the clients Roger works for are active globally and part of our mission is to service clients in every geography with equal quality. Roger realised that in many ways US firms, and particularly ours, have the capacity to offer something that might not have been so obvious in his current firm. It’s really the clients driving this.’

With Balasubramanian and Barron joining over the summer, Paul Hastings will have a 15-strong transactional team, and O’Sullivan said the firm was looking to grow further.

It had also previously tapped Linklaters in 2015 for finance heavyweight David Ereira.

The firm’s City practice posted an eye-catching 25% revenue rise in 2017, adding to pressure on the UK elite.

marco.cillario@legalbusiness.co.uk

Legal Business

Another City loss for DLA Piper as private equity star quits for Paul Hastings

Another City loss for DLA Piper as private equity star quits for Paul Hastings

Paul Hastings has hired Anu Balasubramanian to lead its private equity team in London, a striking move that sees DLA Piper lose one of its brightest deal stars.

The loss of Balasubramanian will be a fresh blow for DLA after a turbulent few months that have seen a high-profile partner exodus in the City to McDermott Will & Emery (MWE).

Balasubramanian (pictured) joined DLA in 2013 from Kirkland & Ellis where she had worked since 2006, making partner the following year. She emerged as DLA’s hands-down star female deal lawyer in Alphas, Legal Business’ recent feature on standout women playmakers.

Her hire will be a boon for Paul Hastings’ City corporate and private equity practice, which is currently led by partners Ronan O’Sullivan and Garrett Hayes, fielding existing clients including Starwood Capital, HIG Capital, Vector Capital, SICP and Oaktree.

Paul Hastings chair Seth Zachary commented: ‘Anu is an acclaimed leader in the market with strong relationships with institutional and corporate clients across multiple sectors and geographies.

‘Our private equity practice has developed a strong presence globally and her arrival will position us to increase market share in Europe, which is a key strategic imperative for the firm’.

Balasubramanian has been a prolific operator for mid-market work, acting for sponsors including ABRY Partners, Accel-KKR, Oakley Capital and Aurium Capital, typically on deals ranging from £200-£600m.

Her hire closely follows that of cybersecurity partner Sarah Pearce from Cooley earlier this month.

Paul Hastings recently reported 25% revenue growth in the London office following a strong 2017 and major mandates including the restructuring of The Cooperative Bank and the €3.5bn acquisition by NJJ Telecom Europe of a majority of eir, the Irish telecommunications and broadband operator.

Meanwhile DLA has had a run of ill-fortune, last month fielding a fresh assault from MWE when it hired London-based real estate partners Laurence Rogers, Neville Wright and Tom Calnan.

The trio’s loss comes quickly after McDermott brought in a team of 50 lawyers from DLA in the US, in a string of major moves touted as adding $100m revenue to its top line.

The departures cast a long shadow over DLA’s 2017 revenue rebound to $2.63bn, a 7% uptick on the previous year.

Nathalie.tidman@legalease.co.uk

For more on the standout female deal stars in the City, read Alphas – the hunt for female deal stars (and why it’s hard to be a City woman)

Legal Business

‘Strategic progress’: Paul Hastings posts 16% revenue rise in Europe to £96m

‘Strategic progress’: Paul Hastings posts 16% revenue rise in Europe to £96m

The European offices at Paul Hastings had a record year in 2015, with profit increasing by 50% from £20.2m to £30.2m. The firm also posted a 16% increase in revenue from £82.5m to £96m, according to filings at Companies House for the year ending 31 January 2016.

The revenue growth is consistent with the increase in headcount from 120 lawyers in 2015 to 131 on 31 January 2016, including the addition of three partners taking the total number of partners to 32.

Paul Hastings’ European LLP includes offices in London, Paris, Brussels, Milan and Frankfurt. While the London office raked in 58.1% of the overall LLP turnover, the firm would not disclose further revenues by location.

Paul Hastings London office chair Ronan O’Sullivan said: ‘We had another record year in London and a very successful 2015 throughout Europe, and continue to make strategic progress with our clients and practices globally and across Europe.’

As reported back in March, Paul Hastings resisted the slowdown in the US legal market by posting record profits globally, with PEP crossing the $2.5m barrier and revenue rising 6% from $1bn in 2014 to $1.06bn last year.

While the US firm announced the hire of Ashurst heavyweight Nigel Ward in September, two weeks later the finance partner confirmed he would stick with the firm.

However Paul Hastings has strengthened its bench over the past 18 months with the hires of Paul Severs from BLP and Duncan Woollard from King & Wood Mallesons. It also hired restructuring veteran David Ereira from Linklaters.

georgiana.tudor@legalease.co.uk

For more on US firms in London see: ‘Global London overview: The eagle has landed’

Legal Business

Stay or go? Heavyweight Ward abandons Paul Hastings move to remain at Ashurst

Stay or go? Heavyweight Ward abandons Paul Hastings move to remain at Ashurst

Banking partner Nigel Ward is to remain at Ashurst after it was announced earlier this month he was to make a move to Paul Hastings.

In a rare turnaround, Ward has chosen to stay with the firm’s finance team. The Legal 500 cites him as a leading individual with experience in recapitalisation, restructurings and IPO crossover financing.

Ashurst chairman Ben Tidswell said he was ‘delighted’ Ward had chosen to remain at the firm, adding the decision ‘reflects Nigel’s deep relationships across our strong international platform and the confidence we all have about the opportunities for the firm going forward’.

A spokesperson for Paul Hastings said: ‘For reasons that must remain confidential, regrettably Nigel Ward’s move to Paul Hastings could not proceed. We wish him well.’

Ashurst also announced today (27 September) it has appointed infrastructure partner Vincent Casey to its New York office from Nixon Peabody. Casey acts for a broad base of clients across the infrastructure market, including in the transport, water, social infrastructure, airport and renewable energy sectors. He joins former Allen & Overy (A&O) banking partner Andrew Fraiser, who was appointed in July to head up the team.

Fraiser commented: ‘As a firm that has infrastructure as a strategic priority for its global business, I believe that there is a unique opportunity for us to become New York’s leading firm covering infrastructure across the Americas.’

However, the revolving door continues to turn at the Anglo-Australian firm: another member of its US team, energy partner Charles William, is leaving the firm to launch his own boutique. Williams, who advises on all aspects of the development, financing, acquisition and disposal of energy and infrastructure projects, joined the firm’s New York office from A&O in 2013.

madeleine.farman@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Paul Hastings adds another City heavyweight as Ashurst is hit again

Paul Hastings adds another City heavyweight as Ashurst is hit again

Paul Hastings has continued to strengthen its burgeoning City practice with yet another high-profile lateral hire, this time taking respected finance partner Nigel Ward from a beleaguered Ashurst.

Ward is a heavyweight UK banking lawyer, cited as a leading individual in The Legal 500 for acquisition finance with experience in recapitalisation, restructurings and IPO crossover financing.

His departure is the latest blow for Ashust, with three further partner exits announced today. Paul Hastings alone has repeatedly targeted Ashurst in the past 18 months for lateral hires. The US firm took on US managing partner Eugene Ferrer and global co-head of securities and derivatives Scott Faga, along with three counsel and four associates last July.

The firm also hired Ashurst banking partner Luke McDougall in June 2015. Earlier this month, Paul Hastings again turned to Ashurst for another three finance partners, taking on Michael Smith, Diala Minott and Cameron Saylor.

Paul Hastings London chair Ronan O’Sullivan said: ‘Nigel is one of the most respected lawyers in the London market and his arrival adds significantly to our strength on both sides of the Atlantic.’

For Paul Hastings in London, this is the latest in a string of high-profile lateral hires that began more than a year ago and includes Paul Severs and Duncan Woollard from King & Wood Mallesons, as well as restructuring veteran David Ereira from Linklaters. Those hires came during a record year for the Global 100 firm, in which it bucked the slowdown in the US legal market by posting record profits, as turnover grew 6% to $1.06bn.

Commenting on Ward’s departure, an Ashurst spokesperson said: ‘We have one of the most long-standing leveraged and acquisition finance teams in the City and our rising stars add to our acknowledged bench strength.’

matthew.field@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

KWM loses historic SJ Berwin client as buyout firm NorthEdge picks Paul Hastings for £300m fund raising

KWM loses historic SJ Berwin client as buyout firm NorthEdge picks Paul Hastings for £300m fund raising

Paul Hastings has won a first time instruction from UK buyout firm NorthEdge on the launch of a £300m fund, the second mandate the US firm has taken from King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) in as many months after it recently acted for historic KWM client Investindustrial.

Despite KWM pitching to retain the work, NorthEdge opted to follow funds partner Duncan Woollard with its instruction, after Woollard left the Hong Kong-based firm to join Paul Hastings eight months ago.

Woollard led on what is NorthEdge’s second investment vehicle, which is targeting companies based in the north of England worth between £20m to £75m. The buyout firm hit its hard cap of £300m within four months of fundraising, with commitments coming from leading institutional investors across Europe, North America and Australia.

When still at KWM, Woollard had led on NorthEdge’s previous investment vehicle, a £225m fund, in 2013.

Woollard was a core part of SJ Berwin’s much-lauded private equity funds team in the 2000s – which also contained Nigel van Zyl, who is now at Proskauer Rose. The firm’s private equity funds and M&A teams have since seen several exits, with deal heavyweights Tim Wright, Steven Davis and Richard Lever all departing following the City firm’s merger with KWM in 2013.

Woollard, who joined Paul Hastings as European head of funds last summer, also won an instruction on Investindustrial’s €2bn private equity fund at the end of last month after having advised it during his 19 years at KWM. The loss of these mandates comes amid a tumultuous period for the legacy SJ Berwin practice, with Europe and Middle East managing partner William Boss resigning in January as managing partner less than a year into the post, a partnership review last year that saw around 10% of the European partnership managed out and a business restructuring last month to reduce the number of practices in London from 17 to three.

Paul Hastings meanwhile has been rapidly recruiting into its City office, with Woollard being joined by Linklaters restructuring heavyweight David Ereira and Berwin Leighton Paisner’s head of structured debt and capital markets, Paul Severs, as the firm makes a play for finance, corporate and funds work.

tom.moore@legalease.co.uk

 

 

 

 

Legal Business

A record year: Paul Hastings posts 6% revenue rise as PEP reaches $2.5m

A record year: Paul Hastings posts 6% revenue rise as PEP reaches $2.5m

Paul Hastings has bucked the slowdown in the US legal market by posting record profits, with profits per partner crossing the $2.5m barrier.

Revenue at the Los Angeles-based firm rose 6% from $1bn in 2014 to $1.06bn last year. It comes as part of a return to form for Paul Hastings, with the firm crossing the $1bn barrier for the first time in 2014 to end a period of slow growth. Back to back years of strong growth means that revenue at the firm has risen 20% between 2011 and 2015.

Paul Hastings’ intellectual property, finance, white-collar and real estate departments performed strongly last year. The white-collar practice was reinvigorated by the arrival of Squire Patton Boggs rainmaker Robert Luskin, who represented Alstom in the largest-ever foreign bribery settlement with the US Justice Department in 2014 for $772m.

The firm also landed a number of large M&A mandates, acting for investment firm Kayne Anderson on its mega merger with Ares Management to create an $113bn investment manager last year.

Profits per partner increased 6% last year to hit $2.51m, while revenue per lawyer was slightly up. Its 912 lawyers generated 1% more on average at $1.16m each than in 2014.

The firm has been making an aggressive push in London over the last 12 months, bringing in restructuring heavyweight David Ereira from Magic Circle firm Linklaters and Berwin Leighton Paisner’s head of structured debt and capital markets Paul Severs. The firm also hired Duncan Woollard from King & Wood Mallesons to spearhead its private equity play in London and Ashurst banking partner Luke McDougall to expand its leveraged finance team in the City.

tom.moore@legalease.co.uk

 

 

Legal Business

Third lateral hire of the week: Paul Hastings appoints Clifford Chance corporate partner in Frankfurt

Third lateral hire of the week: Paul Hastings appoints Clifford Chance corporate partner in Frankfurt

Following two major hires in the City this week, US firm Paul Hastings has turned its attentions to Frankfurt with the addition of Clifford Chance corporate partner Bernd Meyer-Witting.

Meyer-Witting specialises in M&A work involving telecoms, media and energy companies and has a long history of acting for private equity firms making German acquisitions in this space.

He has been a senior figure in Clifford Chance’s German practice, sitting on the firm’s partnership council during the 2000s, but departs to become the seventh partner at Paul Hastings’ Frankfurt office.

With plans in place to double the size of its London office to 50 partners by 2020, Paul Hastings has ramped up recruitment as it targets finance and corporate work in Europe. Meyer-Witting’s arrival follows that of Linklaters’ finance veteran David Ereira and Berwin Leighton Paisner’s head of structured debt and capital markets Paul Severs this week alone.

Other arrivals this year include Duncan Woollard from King & Wood Mallesons in May to head Paul Hastings’ private equity practice in London and Ashurst banking partner Luke McDougall in April to expand its leveraged finance team in the City.

Fresh from crossing the $1bn revenue barrier in 2014, Paul Hastings has ramped up its recruitment of lateral partners across the network. Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson’s former head of Asia, Douglas Freeman, joined with corporate colleague Victor Chen in Hong Kong; a nine-lawyer finance team from Ashurst led by US managing partner Eugene Ferrer arrived in the US; and heavyweight white-collar partner Robert Luskin led a five-lawyer team over to its Washington DC office from Squire Patton Boggs.

Meyer-Witting moves at a time of flux in the German market. Magic Circle rival Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is mulling the closure of either Cologne or Düsseldorf and White & Case is closing its Munich office. 

The number of partners across Clifford Chance’s German network has shrunk in the past two years following several high profile exits. In the first three months of 2015, private equity co-head Oliver Felsenstein and his colleague Burc Hesse quit to join Latham & Watkins, former German corporate head Arndt Stendel exited for Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy in March and energy partners Peter Rosin and Thomas Burmeister departed for White & Case.

Last month, Clifford Chance announced the appointment of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner Anselm Raddatz, who started working in the firm’s Düsseldorf office this week as co-head of the firm’s German corporate practice alongside Thomas Krecek.

tom.moore@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

‘Depth and prestige’: restructuring heavyweight Ereira leaves Linklaters for Paul Hastings

‘Depth and prestige’: restructuring heavyweight Ereira leaves Linklaters for Paul Hastings

David Ereira, the City finance heavyweight who has spent 25 years as a partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and latterly Linklaters, has finally joined a US firm with Paul Hastings securing his hire.

Courted by a host of US firms, restructuring and debt finance partner Ereira will join Paul Hastings’ London office as a corporate partner. He made a rare jump between Magic Circle firms in 2007 when Linklaters senior partner Robert Elliott persuaded Ereira to join the Silk Street-based firm and has spent the majority of his time there advising PwC as the administrators of Lehman Brothers.

Arguably the most senior hire Paul Hastings has ever made in the City, Ereira’s arrival follows the announcement this week that Berwin Leighton Paisner’s (BLP) head of structured debt and capital markets, Paul Severs, has also agreed to join the firm. 2015 has also seen the hire of Duncan Woollard from King & Wood Mallesons to spearhead its private equity play in London and Ashurst banking partner Luke McDougall joining to expand its leveraged finance team in the City.

Paul Hastings restructuring chair Luc Despins said: ‘The addition of a lawyer of David’s standing and stature will be a great asset for us as we continue to enhance the quality and reputation of our restructuring practice in London. It is essential for us to offer leading-edge restructuring capability coherently across English law and US law, and having a partner of David’s experience adds significantly to our global strength.’

Ronan O’Sullivan, chair of the London office, added: ‘The development of a tier one finance and restructuring practice is a central component of our strategy in London and having someone of David’s reputation join us will continue our momentum and trajectory as we build out our capabilities in this practice. David’s arrival will add further depth and prestige to our practice here in London and will position us well to capitalise on restructuring opportunities that span across the UK, Europe and the US.’

tom.moore@legalease.co.uk

Subscribers can read about David Ereira’s career in: ‘Life During Law – David Ereira’ here.

Legal Business

Structured finance heavyweight Severs departs BLP for Paul Hastings

Structured finance heavyweight Severs departs BLP for Paul Hastings

Berwin Leighton Paisner‘s (BLP) head of structured debt and capital markets, Paul Severs, is leaving the firm to join Paul Hastings as part of the US firm’s latest City push.

One of BLP’s most high-profile partners, Severs has over 30 years’ experience in structured finance and securitisation, having built a reputation during his time as a partner at Clifford Chance.

He joined the firm a decade ago from bond insurer Financial Guaranty Insurance Company (FGIC), where he spent two years.

The Legal 500 recommends the ‘very impressive’ Severs for structured debt and capital markets, and securitisation.

Severs’ departure is a blow for BLP, which has suffered some high-profile finance exits over the past three years, with global head of structured finance Tamara Box exiting for Reed Smith in 2011, experienced partner Trevor Wood leaving for Mayer Brown in 2013, structured finance partner Lucy Oddy moving to Latham in early 2014 and real estate finance duo Andrew Flemming and Jo Solomon resigning to join Hogan Lovells shortly after.

The firm also recently lost corporate chief David Collins, who resigned from the firm after losing out to employment head Lisa Mayhew in the race for managing partner in May.

Severs’ arrival at Paul Hastings comes as part of a renewed push in the City from the US firm, with Duncan Woollard arriving from King & Wood Mallesons in May to spearhead its private equity play in London and Ashurst banking partner Luke McDougall joining in April to expand its leveraged finance team in the City.

Fresh from crossing the $1bn revenue barrier in 2014, Paul Hastings has ramped up its recruitment of lateral partners across the network. Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson’s former head of Asia, Douglas Freeman, joined with corporate colleague Victor Chen in Hong Kong; a nine-lawyer finance team from Ashurst led by US managing partner Eugene Ferrer arrived in the US; and heavyweight white-collar partner Robert Luskin led a five-lawyer team over to its Washington DC office from Squire Patton Boggs.

Paul Hastings global chair of corporate Elizabeth Noe said: ‘The last five years has seen the rise of alternative financing platforms and a demand for multiple, diversified types of financing. Paul’s extensive experience in this space will materially enhance our ability to service that demand and will lend further impetus to our leading-edge finance offering in London.’

tom.moore@legalease.co.uk